‘Many kids growing up had their favorite lunchboxes. It was the ultimate status symbol for a grade school kid. Lunch boxes carried your Wonder Bread sandwich, provided a conversation starter with your buddy in the cafeteria about whether Superman or Batman was superior (it’s Superman, clearly). For lovers of vintage pop culture memorabilia, collecting everyday items is comforting, and some of the biggest collectibles these days are vintage metal lunch boxes.
In 1950, a company called Aladdin produced the first true lunchboxes of the era, decorating plain metal boxes with stamped pictures of Hopalong Cassidy. Then, in 1953, riding the cowboy and Indian craze of the time, Roy Rogers and Dale Evans parlayed their popular Western-themed TV show into a lunch box, which sold 2.5 million units in its first year of production.
For the next 30 years or so, metal lunch boxes entered a golden age; pop icons from The Beatles to Barbie were featured on their own box. And let’s be honest, having a cool lunch box was what really got you into the “in” crowd in elementary school (along with how good your dessert was and whether or not you were willing to share and/or trade).
In 1985, after a group of concerned mothers in Florida protested against lunch boxes for fear that they could be used as weapons, the last metal lunchbox (which ironically featured the rather violent Rambo) rolled off the production line.
Back in the day, just having a cool lunch box was enough to be proud of. But these days, if you happened to keep your lunch box from way back when in mint condition, then you might have something to be really proud of on your hands: a potential gold mine. Enjoy these 101 Vintage lunchboxes from Buzzfeed.
Did you have one? What was your favorite? Tell us about it below.